Gov. Murphy: Health care workers, vulnerable populations will get top priority for COVID vaccine
Pfizer has asked United States regulators to allow the emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine, starting a process that could bring the first shots of the vaccine as early as next month.
If the approval is granted, New Jersey could get about 130,000 doses of the vaccine by Christmas and up to 460,00 doses by January.
Gov. Phil Murphy made the announcement Friday at his COVID-19 briefing. The governor said that health care workers and members of vulnerable populations will get top priority. The state expects the vaccine to be shipped directly to hospitals. The state health department is currently working with other states and federal agencies for distribution.
Click or tap on the photo below to view COVID-19 briefing
There will be a three-phase plan to get those vaccines out. Initial doses will go to vulnerable residents, such as those over 65 years old and with pre-existing conditions. They will also go to 650,000 health care workers in the state, including staff at hospitals, community health centers, doctors, pharmacies and home health care workers.
Phase two will include a large supply of vaccine for critical populations and the general population.
By phase three there should be sufficient supply of the vaccine in April or early May for the general population demand.
Murphy says that the goal is for at least 70% of New Jersey’s adult population to be vaccinated. This means about 81,000 residents would have to be vaccinated each day for five days a week.
State health officials also announced a slight drop in new COVID-19 infections on Friday, but the numbers remain high. There were 3,635 new positive COVID-19 cases, and 23 additional deaths. The rate of transmission is down slightly to 1.40.
Hospitalization rates have gone up for 21 straight days. There are now 2,505 COVID-19 patients in New Jersey’s hospitals. There are 452 patients in intensive care with 233 ventilators in use.